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I am fully in support of electronic transmission of results – Michael Opeyemi Bamidele

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Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele
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The Chairman Southern Senators Forum and Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Michael Opeyemi Bamidele has said that he never voted against electronic transmission of results by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Senator Bamidele explained further that he was one of the few Senators who ensured inclusion of electronic transmission of results in the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill adding that he has remained consistent in his legislative work in the overriding public interest.

He carpeted some senators from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) saying they were grandstanding on the floor of the Senate to run a smear campaign against All Progressives Congress (APC) senators ahead of 2023 general elections.

Bamidele in a state issued gave insights into what transpired in the Senate and expressed concerns over misrepresentations by PDP.

In his words ,“In order that no one who knows me and what I have always stood for would be in doubt as to where I stand, I wish to place on record that I am fully in support of the passage of Section 52(3) of the proposed Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to give the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) powers to transmit election results electronically.

“ Let it be known also that I am specifically a member of the Senate Committee on INEC, which, in addition to electronic voting contained in Section 52 (2), recommended and ensured the inclusion of this electronic transmission clause 52 (3) in our Committee report submitted to the Senate for deliberation and passage. The said report, known as the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill carries both my name and signature.

“We did this in response to the popular desire of a cross section of Nigerians, including stakeholders who participated in our public hearing, as well as in recognition of and compliance with global best practice standard in electoral law and procedure.

“For the records, we had specifically recommended in our report that INEC might electronically transfer election results “where and when practicable.

“As it is the practice in parliamentary procedure, our Committee, which made this recommendation, is, like any other standing committee of the Senate, only a SUB-COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE once the entire Senate sits to consider the report and clause by clause passage of the proposed Bill.

“At this point, any Senator shall have the right and privilege to propose amendment to any of the clauses proposed in the sub-committee’s report being considered. This was exactly what happened on the floor of the Nigerian Senate on Thursday, 15th July, 2021.

“The Distinguished Senator representing Niger East Senatorial District, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, expressed concern that the words ‘electronic transmission of results where and when practicable’, as used in our report, were rather nebulous and could lead to arbitrary intervention and implementation.

intervention and implementation.

Read Also: Electoral Act amendment bans electronic transmission of results
“He also opined that the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), being the regulatory institution in charge of communication infrastructure across the country, should be made to work with INEC in determining the “where and when practicable” desire in our report to ensure that Voters in rural communities without access to communication network are not disenfranchised or the results of their elections compromised, relying on a report that only about 43 per cent of the Nigerian rural communities so far have access to communication network service.”

Opeyemi clarified that Senators only disagreed on which versions of the two drafts on electronic transmission of results should be approved.

He added: “This was the issue before the Senate. While every Senator present and voting was in support of electronic transmission of election results (which is a good development for Nigeria), there was a division between the two versions of the draft.

“Distinguished Senator Albert Akpan, representing Akwa Ibom Central Senatorial District, had proposed that the Senate should stick to the recommendation as originally proposed by our sub-committee, as a counter proposal to the amendment sponsored by Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi.

“So, the Senate became divided between those who voted ‘.’YES’ to electronic transmission of results “where and when practicable” and those who voted ‘NO’ to what they described as nebulous version in support of an amendment they believed would ensure that INEC was guided by data and scientific realities.

“The voting and subsequent division was not about making a choice between supporting or rejecting electronic transmission of election results because we all agreed to it.”

He accused some PDP Senators of taking undue advantage of normal parliamentary procedure.

He said: “When the Senate Minority Leader called for a division, we all thought it was a normal parliamentary procedure to ensure accurate result of voting on the floor of parliament.

“But subsequent events and calculated attempts to manipulate facts and misinform the public since then have shown that there was more to it than met the eye as the PDP had taken it beyond their grandstanding on the floor of the Senate to working so hard to run a smear campaign against APC Senators as if their voting ‘no’ was in rejection of electronic transmission of results.

“Of course, 2023 is getting nearer and, expectedly, though unfortunately, PDP is becoming more restless, more aggressive and more determined to manipulate its way back into power. But I think we all should still be mindful of what we do when we are making laws for the people.”

Bamidele said he has been an advocate of electoral reforms as part of his agenda for contesting election to the Senate.

He said: “Electoral reforms constitute a major part of my agenda for contesting election to the Senate because I am convinced on the need to sanitize and stabilize our electoral process so as to stabilize our polity and, by implication, stabilize our economy.

“ I am happy my membership of the Senate Committee is affording me the opportunity to be actively involved in fundamental discussions, engagements, drafting and voting processes aimed at strengthening our democracy. Do I support that INEC be given powers to transmit election results electronically? Absolutely, yes. Did I canvass that position at my Committee level? YES.

“Did the Committee boldly introduce this clause into the draft Electoral Amendment Bill submitted to the Senate for consideration? YES, as it clearly carries my name and signature. Should I have allowed myself to be misguided by the manipulation of those who would not want additional input and reasonable and data driven amendments to our report on the floor of the Senate? NO.

“Am I driven by overriding public interest in my voting on the amendment to our sub-committee version of Section 52 (3) of the proposed Bill? YES.

“Guided by the same overriding public interest that made me endorse a recommendation of our same sub-committee (Senate Committee on INEC) to the same Senate rejecting a Presidential nomination into INEC as National Electoral Commissioner just less than forty eight hours before the voting on Electoral Bill.

“ It is also the same overriding public interest principle which has guided me in sponsoring several Bills and Motions aimed at achieving judicial reforms, social reforms, economic reforms, electoral reforms, youth and women development, deepening diaspora participation in our political process and far reaching constitutional amendment and reforms.”

He assured his supporters and admirers that he has not betrayed the trust reposed in him.

He said: “I am consistently who I am: Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, a product of the collective struggle of the Nigerian youth, students and Pro-Democracy movement. More than most people who grandstand on the floor of the Nigerian parliament today, I, most respectfully, submit that I have more Stakeholders to account to for my actions and inactions, in addition to my Constituents who massively and happily elected me to serve in this capacity.

“ Above all, I am accountable to God Almighty who has saved me to serve and I will faithfully serve Him and humanity to the best of my ability. That is my stand for those who are interested in knowing where I stand on these issues.

“Beyond this, I may not comment any further on this issue as the Senate, as an institution, has an officially appointed Spokesman who would continue to explain the rationale behind every decision of the Senate.

“But let the innocent public beware of political manipulation and let it be known that if an election was to be conducted today and INEC runs into logistic problems in its efforts to electronically transmit results in some remote parts of the country, these same PDP gladiators would be the first to shout that they were being rigged out.

“So, I believe it is important to make NCC submit to INEC for the specific purpose of assisting the electoral umpire in determining the availability of necessary infrastructure and technical capacity to do so long clearly before election.

“If we are wrong on this, let it be the people themselves that will tell us so and if the law is deemed to be invalid, let it be the Judiciary, as the watchdog of democracy, that will shut it down. Not the grandstanding, intimidation or smear campaign of a desperate and self-serving political opposition platform.”

 

Below is the Statement issued by The Chairman Southern Senators Forum and Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Michael Opeyemi Bamidele.

Press Statement

VOTING ‘NO’: FAR FROM BEING A CHOICE IN REJECTION OF ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION.

In order that no one who knows me and what I have always stood for would be in doubt as to where I stand, I wish to place on record that I am fully in support of the passage of Section 52( 3) of the proposed Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to give the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) powers to transmit election results electronically. Let it be known also that I am specifically a member of the Senate Committee on INEC, which, in addition to electronic voting contained in Section 52 (2), recommended and ensured the inclusion of this electronic transmission clause 52 (3) in our Committee report submitted to the Senate for deliberation and passage. The said report, known as the Electoral Act
(Amendment) Bill carries both my name and signature. We did this in response to the popular desire of a cross section of Nigerians, including Stakeholders who participated in our public hearing, as well as in recognition of and compliance with global best practice standard in electoral law and procedure.
For the records, we had specifically recommended in our report that INEC might electronically transfer election results “where and when practicable.”
As it is the practice in parliamentary procedure, our Committee, which made this recommendation, is, like any other standing committee of the Senate, only a SUB-COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE once the entire Senate sits to consider the report and clause by clause passage of the proposed Bill. At this point, any Senator shall have the right and privilege to propose amendment to any of the clauses proposed in the sub-committee’s report being considered. This was exactly what happened on the floor of the Nigerian Senate on Thursday, 15th July, 2021.
The Distinguished Senator representing Niger East Senatorial District, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, expressed concern that the words ‘electronic transmission of results where and when practicable’, as used in our report, were rather nebulous and could lead to arbitrary intervention and implementation. He also opined that the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), being the regulatory institution in charge of communication infrastructure across the country, should be made to work with INEC in determining the “where and when practicable” desire in our report to ensure that Voters in rural communities without access to communication network are not disenfranchised or the results of their elections compromised, relying on a report that only about 43 per cent of the Nigerian rural communities so far have access to communication network service.
This was the issue before the Senate. While every Senator present and voting was in support of electronic transmission of election results (which is a good development for Nigeria), there was a division between the two versions of the draft. Distinguished Senator Albert Akpan, representing Akwa Ibom Central Senatorial District, had proposed that the Senate should stick to the recommendation as originally proposed by our sub-committee, as a counter proposal to the amendment sponsored by Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi. So, the Senate became divided between those who voted ‘.’YES’ to electronic transmission of results “where and when practicable” and those who voted ‘NO’ to what they described as nebulous version in support of an amendment they believed would ensure that INEC was guided by data and scientific realities. The voting and subsequent division was not about making a choice between supporting or rejecting electronic transmission of election results because we all agreed to it.
When the Senate Minority Leader called for a division, we all thought it was a normal parliamentary procedure to ensure accurate result of voting on the floor of parliament. But subsequent events and calculated attempts to manipulate facts and misinform the public since then have shown that there was more to it than met the eye as the PDP had taken it beyond their grandstanding on the floor of the Senate to working so hard to run a smear campaign against APC Senators as if their voting ‘NO’ was in rejection of electronic transmission of results.
Of course, 2023 is getting nearer and, expectedly, though unfortunately, PDP is becoming more restless, more aggressive and more determined to manipulate it’s way back into power. But I think we all should still be mindful of what we do when we are making laws for the people. Electoral reforms constitute a major part of my agenda for contesting election to the Senate because I am convinced on the need to sanitize and stabilise our electoral process so as to stabilise our polity and, by implication, stabilize our economy. I am happy my membership of the Senate Committee is affording me the opportunity to be actively involved in fundamental discussions, engagements, drafting and voting processes aimed at strengthening our democracy. Do I support that INEC be given powers to transmit election results electronically? Absolutely, YES. Did I canvass that position at my Committee level? YES. Did the Committee boldly introduce this clause into the draft Electoral Amendment Bill submitted to the Senate for consideration? YES, as it clearly carries my name and signature. Should I have allowed myself to be misguided by the manipulation of those who would not want additional input and reasonable and data driven amendments to our report on the floor of the Senate? NO. Am I driven by overriding public interest in my voting on the amendment to our sub-committee version of Section 52 (3) of the proposed Bill? YES. Guided by the same overriding public interest that made me endorse a recommendation of our same sub-committee (Senate Committee on INEC) to the same Senate rejecting a Presidential nomination into INEC as National Electoral Commissioner just less than forty eight hours before the voting on Electoral Bill. It is also the same overriding public interest principle which has guided me in sponsoring several Bills and Motions aimed at achieving judicial reforms, social reforms, economic reforms, electoral reforms, youth and women development, deepening diaspora participation in our political process and far reaching constitutional amendment and reforms. I am consistently who I am: Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, a product of the collective struggle of the Nigerian youth, students and Pro-Democracy movement. More than most people who grandstand on the floor of the Nigerian parliament today, I, most respectfully, submit that I have more Stakeholders to account to for my actions and inactions, in addition to my Constituents who massively and happily elected me to serve in this capacity. Above all, I am accountable to God Almighty who has saved me to serve and I will faithfully serve Him and humanity to the best of my ability. That is my stand for those who are interested in knowing where I stand on these issues. Beyond this, I may not comment any further on this issue as the Senate, as an institution, has an officially appointed Spokesman who would continue to explain the rationale behind every decision of the Senate. But let the innocent public beware of political manipulation and let it be known that if an election were to be conducted today and INEC runs into logistic problems in its efforts to electronically transmit results in some remote parts of the country, these same PDP gladiators would be the first to shout that they were being rigged out. So, I believe it is important to make NCC submit to INEC for the specific purpose of assisting the electoral umpire in determining the availability of necessary infrastructure and technical capacity to do so long clearly before election. If we are wrong on this, let it be the people themselves that will tell us so and if the law is deemed to be invalid, let it be the Judiciary, as the watchdog of democracy, that will shut it down. Not the grandstanding, intimidation or smear campaign of a desperate and self serving political opposition platform.

Signed
Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele
(Ekiti Central Senatorial District)
Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters; and
Member, Senate Committee on INEC.

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Rivers Crisis: Police Barricade Of LG Secretariats To Continue, Says IGP

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The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kayode Egbetokun has directed the continuation of the police barricade on local government secretariats in Rivers State to prevent a breakdown of law and order.

IGP Egbetokun gave the directive while fielding questions from journalists in Abuja on the sideline of a Conference with Commissioners of Police and other Senior Officers.

He said the police will continue to occupy the secretariats until a court of competent jurisdiction delivers judgment on the local government crisis in Rivers State.

The IGP who also spoke on the controversy over the recruitment of constables and the allegations by the Police Service Commission (PSC) said the management of the Force will not sit idly and watch questionable and untrainable persons recruited into the police.

Egbetokun maintained that the Nigeria Police Force is a specialised institution that is not meant for all Nigerians.

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Eid-el-Kabir: Senate Leader Felicitates Muslim Faithful, Canvasses Patriotism

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Senate Leader, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele
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The Leader of the Senate, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele on Sunday urged Nigerians to demonstrate more patriotic spirit and keep hope alive amid diverse strategic measures the federal government had been taking to guarantee fiscal and monetary stability.

Bamidele, representing Ekiti Central in the Senate, also pleaded with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) to accept whatever the federal government offered them above N60,000 as the new minimum wage.

He made the call in an Eid-el-Kabir message released by his Directorate of Media and Public Affairs on Saturday, highlighting some achievements of the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR.

While felicitating all Muslim faithful nationwide, Bamidele noted that Nigerians, regardless of religion and tribes, should team up with and rally support for the Tinubu administration to safely steer the ship of the nation into a successful end.

Bamidele further emphasised that no nation could travel the journey of national rebirth alone without the unwavering support of its citizens not minding their political, cultural and social backgrounds and orientations.

He assured that the current administration would leave no stone unturned in alleviating the economic hardship most Nigerians “are currently grappling with and ensure stability in our macroeconomic environment.

“The administration might have taken some measures affecting nearly every citizen. The measures were meant to subject to hardship and penury. Rather they were taken in the best interest of our dear country. But with courage and tenacity in implementation, the measures will soon yield desired outcomes.”

On this note, Bamidele passionately appealed to the NLC and TUC to toe the path of dialogue and peace in the negotiation of a new minimum wage, which the President had promised to duly address without delay and within the capacity of the federal government.

Bamidele said the federal government “has conceded to N60,000, which obviously translates to a 100 percent increase. However, the organised labour turned down the 100 percent increase offer, the highest wage increase since the birth of the Fourth Republic.

“In the interest of public welfare, the federal government has agreed to make more concessions in this respect. As the federal government reveals its new offer, I plead with the organised labour to accept it in the national interest. The economy will not remain in this condition forever. Collectively, we are taking multi-pronged measures to reverse negative economic indicators.”

In the spirit of the season, the Leader further urged all Muslims to emulate love and good neighbourliness exemplified by Prophet Mohammed during his time and how he related very well with people of other faiths and nationalities.

He appealed that the ongoing reengineering initiatives of the Tinubu administration could only yield democratic dividends in an atmosphere devoid of insecurity, but where lives and property are protected.

He said: “Just to mention a few among ongoing projects like the 700 kilometres Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway, the establishment of N50 Billion Pulako Initiative and annual recruitment of 30,000 new police personnel are Key Performance Indicators of this government.

“Only recently, this government declared a state of emergency in agriculture and launched the National Agricultural Development Fund with N100 billion, in addition to the Dry Season Farming Initiative and the Green Imperative Programme to ensure food security across the land.

“All these and other components of the 8-point Renewed Hope Agenda require the patriotic support and prayers for their deliverables to multiply at the doorsteps of Nogerians in the remaining three years of the first term of this government.”

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OSUN GOVERNMENT TO HOST INDUSTRIAL INVESTMENT SUMMIT IN SEPTEMBER, 2024

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Osun State Gov Ademola Adeleke
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The Osun State Government under the leadership of Governor Ademola Jackson Nurudeen Adeleke has concluded arrangements to host an Industrial Investment Summit, come September 2024.

This is contained in a press statement by the Summit Consultant, Prince Rotimi Awelewa, in Osogbo on Thursday.

The Industrial Investment Summit is expected to hold at the Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding, Cultural Centre, Abeere, Osun State.

It will be recalled that the State Governor, represented by the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Rev. Bunmi Jenyo, in May this year inaugurated the Central Working Committee for the Osun Industrial Investment Summit, 2024.

According to the statement, the State will be hosting a 3-day “Industrial Investment Summit 2024 from September 11 to September 13,2024 with the theme ‘Connecting Progress with Purpose’ which will focus on the bid to position Osun State as a major industrial and Commercial hub in Nigeria and West Africa.

The Osun State Investment Summit 2024 is packaged to showcase bankable opportunities and strategic matchmaking platforms, convening stakeholders to Osun Industrial ecosystem to facilitate partnerships and investments in the State.

According to Prince Awelewa, “the principal objective and focus of the Summit is to set an economic policy agenda for accelerated industrial investments in Osun State, Nigeria, underpinned by sustainable and inclusive development”.

“Through focused discussions and deliberations, the Summit seeks to identify and address the key challenges and opportunities for transforming Osun State economy, with a particular emphasis on the role of Agriculture, Industrial Advancement, Manufacturing, Tourism and Capital Investment”, he said.

The Summit is also expected to focus on driving double-digit industrial investment and economic growth across every nook and cranny of Osun State.

“This year’s Summit will create and expand channels for leveraging the qualitative Industrial, Agricultural, Mining, Tourism and ICT potentials of the State, for inclusive and sustainable wealth creation for the people and the nation”, the consultant said.

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